What do watermelons and tomatoes have in common?

July 30, 2011

Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

My name is Jonnell and I’m excited to be joining the Harmons’ team as the dietitian for the Bangerter Crossing store. I look forward to sharing my knowledge of nutrition and enthusiasm for great food with you, both through this blog and through workshops and classes in the coming months.

As I am writing this blog, I am thinking about how much I love this time of year with all the different fruits and vegetables that are in season. There is nothing like a juicy piece of watermelon on a hot summer day or a salad made with beautifully ripe tomatoes. You may have already known that tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, but did you know that watermelon has as much lycopene as raw tomato? Lycopene is an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. In addition to being great sources of lycopene, both watermelon and tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.

So enjoy the taste of summer with a slice of watermelon or a beautiful red tomato and reap some health benefits at the same time!

Heavenly summer pairings

July 29, 2011
Shauna in Cheese

Shauna, Cheese Monger

Hello Everyone,

Well we are in the dog days of summer. It’s too hot to cook, it’s too hot to think, making it the perfect time for cheese. OK OK, its always the perfect time for cheese. Summer afternoons you can find me under the oak tree with a plate of fruit, bread and of course cheese. Throw in a nice bottle of wine or a frosty beer and I am in heaven.

I decided to ask my coworkers their version of heaven and I got some yummy ideas. Brian, my assistant, likes pretzels, Henry Wienhards and Shropshire Blue cheese. Rich, our Home and Health manager, picks a cold Wasatch Apricot Hefeweizen with Beehive’s Full Moon Cheddar. Rebecca’s favorite is Yellow Tail Shiraz with mozzarella. Our Store Director, Reagan, is quite the brew master so he picks cherry brie with his homemade Hard Lemonade. My deli manager, Heather, is a fan of brie with a berry coulee and a chilled bottle of Prosecco. Bob, our Cooking School chef, makes a spritzer of Pellegrino, tart cherry juice and almond Monin syrup to enjoy with Beemster’s XO Gouda.  I would love to hear your favorites, so comment back with your pairings.

I don’t know about you but I am ready for the shade. Come on in, pick out some great cheese and go home to relax. Throw the kids in the sprinkler and slow down, enjoy the day. It won’t be long before we are battling the snow.

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

July 28, 2011
Jason in Bakery

Jason, Artisan Baker

Did you know that all of Harmons’ cookies are made from scratch? We also use real butter and sea salt. We have a variety to choose from including: Snickerdoodle, M&M, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip made with Ghirardelli chocolate. The Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies are my favorite, they are reminiscent of the cookies that my mom used to make! I remember helping her in the kitchen and thinking, “Are they ever going to be ready?” When, in all actuality, they only took about 30 minutes from start to finish. So every time I eat them now I have happy memories of time with my mom. I guess that’s where my love of baking comes from, in the kitchen helping her . . . or was I just getting in her way? Right now all 30 oz packages of cookies are on sale, so perhaps we will see you at the bakery?!

Why do I have to get Sudafed at the pharmacy?

July 27, 2011
Phil in Pharmacy

Phil, Pharmacy Manager

The ingredient in Sudafed called pseudoephedrine can be used to make methamphetamine. Pseudoephedrine is a nasal decongestant that can be purchased by itself or in combination with other medications. It comes in a 4 to 6 hour, 12 hour, or 24 hour formulation. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 became effective near the end of 2006. It limits how much pseudoephedrine and ephedrine that can be purchased per day (3,600 mg) and per month (9,000 mg). This law also requires these products to be behind the pharmacy counter, a sales logbook to be filled out with each purchase, and each customer needs a valid identification to purchase the product. A reformulated form of Sudafed is available over the counter without an ID called Sudafed PE. This contains phenylephrine and can’t be used to make methamphetamine. Phenylephrine only comes in a 4 to 6 hour formulation and doesn’t seem to work as well compared to pseudoephedrine. For questions about these products you can talk to your local Harmons pharmacist.

Watermelon anyone?

July 22, 2011
Derick in Produce

Derick, Produce Manager

How do you pick that perfect watermelon? It’s actually very easy, here are few different methods for picking a sweet juicy melon.

  • Pick up the watermelon; it should be heavy for it’s size and symmetrical in shape.
  • Make sure the melon has a nice yellow or creamy white belly or ground spot. (This is the part of the melon that rested on the ground)
  • While holding the melon in one hand “thump” it with the other and the melon should have a hollow or echo sound. You should feel the vibrations through the melon into the hand holding the melon.
  • Another method is the famous “straw method”: Find a piece of straw or dry grass at least 4” in length and lay it across the melon cross ways. The straw should align it self long ways with the melon or keep spinning if the melon is ripe.

However, the easiest way is to just ask one of your Harmons produce experts. We are always happy to pick melons or even cut them in half so you can taste before you buy. So now there is no excuse not to have a sweet juicy watermelon this Pioneer Holiday weekend.

Hello Harmons’ “Hippie”

July 21, 2011

Cindy, Green Team Member

Hi, my name is Cindy. I am in my 9th year of service with Harmons and I have spent all of that time at the Floral Design and Distribution Center. In that time I have seen a lot of changes and growth here. I have learned so much and now have the privilege of purchasing the beautiful flowers you see at Harmons.

When I first started I noticed that the Distribution Center was not even recycling the cardboard like the stores did. This bothered me because of my personal belief that we all need to do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle! Thirty years ago when I moved out on my own I started to recycle, this was back when it was not cool to do so! I would have to save it up and take it to BFI just off 3300 South and 900, ironically called Rocky Mountain Recycling now and where some of the recyclables from Harmons are sent. The employees there would look at me as if I was crazy and tell me that I really didn’t have enough to get money for it, I would have to explain on each of my monthly trips that I just wanted the material to be recycled and did not expect to get paid for it. I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me that we have come so far as to have a bin right at our homes (most of us anyway) where we can separate our trash and have recycling ability at our fingertips!

I am proud to be a part of Harmons’ efforts to do their part towards reducing our carbon footprint. I am a mother of two and have four wonderful grandchildren. I am in hopes that through education and the efforts of us all we can create a better world for my loved ones and yours for now and many generations to come. You can call me a “hippie”; I make tye-dyed clothes for fun, listen to the Grateful Dead, and have been trying to save the world one plastic bottle at a time, but the mission of sustainability that Harmons is committed to goes far beyond saving the whales! Please join me in learning ways that we can all make a difference and what the Associates at Harmons are doing to have a positive impact.

Tasty, healthy and quick snacks

July 20, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

If you have been looking for a great tasting and healthy gluten free snack, then your wait is over. Head over to our produce department and check out all of our chef prepared salsas, guacamole, and fresh cut fruit. The best part about buying from our produce department is that it is all cut, prepared, and packaged right here in our store so there is no risk of cross contamination like there is with warehouse prepared product from the national brands. Not only is there no risk of cross contamination, but our produce department also takes all necessary steps to ensure the highest quality produce available is used to prepare all of their fresh cut produce. They also use an anti microbial victory wash on all produce that is used in production to eliminate anything that may be harmful to you, the consumer. Please go check it out, I highly recommend the guacamole, but have liked all varieties that I have tried.

Refreshing Summertime Drinks

July 18, 2011

Summer days are getting hot! Here are a couple suggestions of cool and refreshing drinks without the sugar and calories.

Fun and education in Wisconsin

July 15, 2011
Shauna in Cheese

Shauna, Cheese Monger

Just got back from Wisconsin and what a great trip. Wisconsin is a postcard picture state. Everywhere you look is green rolling hills dotted with farms. Robert Schindler from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board was our host and he is the best cheese monger wrangler you’ll ever meet. Imagine trying to get twenty-four people all moving in the same direction at the same time. I bet at the end of the four days he was exhausted.

Wisconsin has 1200 cheese makers that make over 600 different cheese. I was impressed with the care that they take with their cheese. From the big producers to the small, the first concern is with quality and that quality starts with the milk. They test every batch for many of things including antibiotics. Even a small amount and the milk is not used.

Wisconsin’s cheese makers are all licensed by the state and is the only state that has a Master Cheese Maker program. It is a three year program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and so far forty-four cheese makers hold that distinction. Next time you pick up a Wisconsin cheese look on the label for the Master’s Mark.

We were able to meet about twelve cheese makers including the famous Sid Cook from Carr Valley Cheese. We tasted some amazing cheeses and butters that I hope to have in our stores before long. Some of my favorite Wisconsin cheeses that we carry now are from Carr Valley as well as Satori Cheese. A lot of our slicing cheeses in the deli are from Wisconsin, Boar’s Head and Shullsberg.

I had a wonderfull experience in Wisconsin and hope to go back soon.

Bringing the heat in the bread

July 14, 2011
Jason in Bakery

Jason, Artisan Baker

I enjoy all of our artisan breads and the Jalapeno Cheddar bread is no exception! Jalapeno Cheddar bread is comprised of flour, water, sea salt, jalapeno and cheddar cheese. Like all of our artisan breads, it is made and baked from scratch. It’s the bread of the day every Monday! If you like a little heat this is the bread for you. It’s a terrific choice to use in place of a hamburger bun, grilled cheese sandwich or one of my favorite things to use it for is to toast it and put a smear of cream cheese on it. In my opinion it is better than a bagel and cream cheese! So, make your blue Monday a little brighter and grab a loaf of Jalapeno Cheddar Bread.